Heads up America. We can tear that one part called the Fifth Amendment out of the Constitution and add a clause about government vigilantism in its place.
“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger…nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
Say goodbye to democracy. Because you too can become a domestic terrorist without due process.
All it took was a rambling manifesto, a vendetta against a few officers in the Los Angeles Police Department, some bullets, and an impossible-to-find hiding spot. If your ambitions were to ever be a threat to national security, Christopher Dorner has given us the playbook.
But so has every killer, thief, gunman, mass shooter, or pissed-off person who was pushed to the edge. Except they don’t have U.S. drones locating their position as we speak.
Last night it was revealed that the ex-LAPD cop who allegedly shot and killed three people in Irvine, Ca. last week has graduated from a fugitive to the first human target for airborne drones on U.S. soil. In a matter of days, Dorner transformed himself from a disgruntled employee to the nightmare that stalks every Californian’s dreams at night. And now, if reports about the drones manifest, he will be considered America’s first domestic terrorist.
Welcome to the new America.
It’s where the Obama Administration’s plan to use unmanned drones to kill Americans who are suspected of being al-Qaeda has turned into government control over who to deem a “bad guy” without due process.
It’s where we’re forced to accept that the drones we used to target terrorists in countries worlds away from our hub are now being used to eliminate our own alleged criminals without being found guilty.
It’s where domestic terrorism can be decided by law enforcement or government…not the people and not in a court.
And the right to surrender? That will be all but gone.
We are headed down a slippery slope…and towards the ultimate demise of an already injudicious system. Enter Dorner, who has become the poster-child for this shining American moment.
I am not defending Dorner’s actions. He allegedly hurt innocent people and must be tried judicially to determine his innocence. But Dorner’s situation has made it clear that our rights as Americans are about to be infringed upon.
What exactly constitutes an individual as a “domestic terrorist?” An Adam Lanza? A shooter on the corner in Chicago? Anyone with a gun and a plan? Or Dorner, whose gripe with the police department has turned into the LAPD invoking fear on a grand scale in California to justify their means and save a few of their own.
Do we now kill all of our criminals on sight?
And what about collateral damage? Do we risk the lives of the innocent to catch our “bad guy?” By any means necessary? Can a drone blow up an entire building because the government believes that our “bad guy” is occupying it?
Oh. Yes indeed. That’s what the LAPD did when they thought Dorner was driving a pickup truck. They riddled it with bullets, but thankfully the 71-year-old woman inside survived.
In the end, Dorner has become an unintended target for the drone program in the U.S. because of an abuse of power on the LAPD’s part. I don’t believe the domestic terrorism that the government was citing when implementing drones to locate terrorists involved a disgruntled former employee with a gun. Dorner has a right to the Fifth Amendment just like every other criminal does. Because…let’s face it…you can’t surrender to a drone.
And if this is what the government intended – to utilize this power on anyone they choose (without ties to al-Qaeda) – then we’re all in a bit of trouble.
If we’re going to live in a country where airborne drones on U.S. soil is a reality, let’s use it accordingly and properly. Not in a way that will absolutely violate our rights.
Just giving you a heads up. Literally. Eyes to the sky, because they could be watching.
Christina Coleman is the News and Politics Editor at GlobalGrind. Prior to this she was a science writer. That explains her NASA obsession. She crushes on Anthony Bourdain. Nothing explains that.
Follow her on Twitter @ChrissyCole